Japan make double change

Date published: June 24 2016

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Japan have made two changes from the team that began the first Test for this weekend's game against Scotland.

Male Sa’u returns from injury and is picked on the wing and Rikiya Matsuda is promoted from the bench for the game at Ajinomoto Stadium.

“Rikiya is a confident young man and very strong. For a young guy he has a very mature rugby brain,” head coach Mark Hammett said.

“Male is quite a threat with ball in hand. And (he will help us) create quick ball for our backs.”

Sa’u replaces Mifiposeti Paea, who drops to the bench, while Matsuda replaces the injured Kotaro Matsushima.

There is one other change among the replacements with number eight Ryu Koliniasi Holani replacing Hiroki Yamamoto, who drops out of the 23-man squad.

“Scotland have made a few changes but you are talking about a squad that has played a lot of Six Nations together and I don’t believe that will weaken them in any way,” said Hammett.

“In fact it can make them stronger as some players will have the chance to prove themselves.”

Hooker Shota Horie once again leads the side, which features a good mix of youth and experience.

Lock Hitoshi Ono plays his 98th game for Japan and prop Kensuke Hatakeyama will be winning his 75th cap, while scrum-half Kaito Shigeno, wing Yasutaka Sasakura, Matsuda and Paea will be playing just their third Tests.

Japan: 15 Rikiya Matsuda, 14 Male Sa'u, 13 Tim Bennetts, 12 Harumichi Tatekawa, 11 Yasutaka Sasakura, 10 Yu Tamara, 9 Kaito Shigeno, 8 Amanaki Mafi, 7 Shoukei Kin, 6 Hendrik Tui, 5 Naohiro Kotaki, 4 Hitoshi Ono, 3 Kensuke Hatakeyama, 2 Shota Horie (c), 1 Keita Inagaki
Replacements: 16 Takeishi Kizu, 17 Masataka Mikami, 18 Shinnosuke Kakinaga, 19 Kotaro Yatabe, 20 Ryu Kolinasi Holani, 21 Keisuke Uchida, 22 Kosei Ono, 23 Mifi Poseti Paea

Date: Saturday, June 25
Venue: Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo
Kick-off: 19:20 local (10:20 GMT)
Referee: Marius Mitrea (Italy)
Assistant Referees: Ben O'Keeffe (New Zealand), Brendan Pickerill (New Zealand)
TMO: Ian Smith (Australia)

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